Following the film will be an audience Q&A with filmmaker Stephen Apkon moderated by Douglas Paterson, Professor of Theatre at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Nebraskans for Peace member.
Thanks to cross-promotional partners Middle East Cultural and Educational Services of Omaha and New Leaders Council Omaha.
When we first met some of the founders of Combatants for Peace while doing research for a potential project, I asked Chen Alon, a former officer in an IDF tank unit, what the organization was really about. Without missing a beat, he replied: “We are an organization of people taking responsibility for our own creation.” Sulaiman al-Khatib, one of the Palestinian founders of the organization, who spent a decade in Israeli prisons, spoke of Mandela, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., concurred, and spoke of the need for Palestinians to move past their own “victimhood,” And they talked about how impossible it was to get mainstream media to tell their story because “nonviolence doesn’t sell.” I understood immediately, that this was an important story to tell.
Soon after, I found myself returning to the West Bank, for the first time since 1976 [and…] a deeper knowing kept me moving forward, bringing me to meet an extraordinary group of people — all former soldiers and freedom fighters, who have laid down their weapons in an act of courage and humanity and are working together to bring a non-violent end to the Conflict.
In the two years following this meeting, together with [co-director] Andy Young, I have spent extensive time throughout Israel and the West Bank, documenting their work. I have seen them working tirelessly, as the only group of enemy combatants I am aware of that are actively working together through non-violence during an on-going military conflict. What I have learned is that this is NOT just a story of two people destined to be forever at war. And it is not even just about this particular conflict. It is about our ability to transform — individually and collectively.
As one of the former combatants says “It’s not the weather! It doesn’t just happen to us. We make it happen.” I see this film as a call to action and responsibility — deeply personal and completely collective and universal, and I have been deeply privileged to understand this and tell this story through the courageous actions of these people.
— Stephen Apkon, Director
NOTE: This event is currently at capacity. In the event tickets become available, a wait list will be available starting at 6 pm on the evening of the screening.